A Critical Reconstruction of Modern Urban Settlement Patterns in Muscat and Al Batinah Based on Military Maps.
Richthofen, Aurel von
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseIn Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Urbanisation in Oman started shortly after 1970. The process of urbanisation changed the land-use and settlement patterns in Oman and in particular in Muscat Capital Area. Modern urban geography and urban planning in Oman emerged in the 1980s when the ‘rational’ Llewelyn-Davies plan of 1981 became the guiding planning framework. The main conceptual strategies and spatial imagination of the territory remained un-questioned in all subsequent plans and strategies up to the present Oman National Spatial Strategy. This article argues that the limited means of spatial representation of urban planners and geographers in the 1980s also limited the conceptualisation of the urban development strategies. These relied essentially on conventional aerial photography whereas the military already used systematic satellite imagery. US and Soviet military maps based on satellite images have been disclosed at the end of the Cold War and are now accessible. The evaluation of maps produced between 1943 and 1975 allows to reconstruct earlier settlement patterns preceding the 1980s. Hundreds of pre-existing settlement cores integrated hydrographic, topographic and agricultural features across the region of Muscat and Al Bāţinah. This reconstruction of settlement patterns is highly relevant today: Features of the pre-existing settlement patterns are still dominant in Muscat Capital Area. They form a ‘base-layer’ of urbanisation and indicate crucial intersections of hydrographic, topographic and agricultural features with settlement areas. This urban network is complex, functionally diversified and sustainable in its use of natural and spatial resources - qualities that are now being recognised as ‘remedies’ for urban sprawl Show more
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Journal / seriesThe Journal of Oman Studies
Pages / Article No.
PublisherMinistry of Heritage and Culture, Sultanate of Oman
SubjectUrban geography; Urbanisation; Oman; Military maps
Organisational unit08058 - Singapore ETH Centre (SEC) / Singapore ETH Centre (SEC)
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